Makaila Napoleon had 17 points but it wasn’t enough as the No. 8 Eureka High girls’ basketball team fell 47-44 to visiting No. 9 Aragon in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation State Championship Division-III playoffs (NorCals), Tuesday night at Jay Willard Gymnasium.
“It was tough out there,” Eureka head coach Mike Harvey said. “But we played hard tonight.”
Eureka started off with aggressive offensive play, enabling an early six-point lead in a 13-10 advantage after the first quarter, but it wasn’t long before Aragon found its chemistry in Humboldt County. Aragon’s guard, Lydia Manu, scored eight of her points in the first quarter and helped get her team within striking range entering the second. Manu put up another eight points in the second quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers as Aragon outscored Eureka 21-16 in the second to take a 31-29 lead into the break.
Aragon began to match the Loggers fast paced play as they regained and held possession. Shot after shot helped Aragon to 21 points in just the second quarter but that wasn’t stopping Logger Sophia Chalmers from leading her team and scoring nine of her points before the half. Mikaila Napoleon helped with her five points just before the half, but with a 3-pointer from Manu and just three seconds left, the Loggers walked into the locker room trailing 31-29 at halftime. Things might have looked shaky for the Loggers entering halftime if not for an inspired second quarter from Sophia Chalmers, who scored nine of her 11 points in that frame.
Aragon came out, by far, the better team in the third quarter. The visitors held Eureka to just two points in the third as the home team didn’t score until Napoleon finally found the bucket with two minutes to play in the period. After outscoring Eureka 11-2 in the third, Aragon led 42-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
Eureka woke up in the fourth, outscoring Aragon 13-5 in the final frame behind a couple 3-pointers from Napoleon and Wesson, but it was too little too late for the Loggers.
“I’m very proud of my girls,” Harvey said. “They’ve had a great year and I would say it was a successful one.”
Alongside Napoleon’s 17 points came Chalmers with 11 points and Wesson with eight.
As for Aragon, Manu finished with 19 points and was the only double-digit finish of the night for Aragon.
With Tuesday’s loss Eureka sees its season come to a close as senior captains Napoleon, Wesson and Paige Lyons can tout a 21-11 overall record, a semifinal appearance in the North Coast Section D-III playoffs and a trip to NorCals in their final year of Loggers basketball.